Tomb-sweeping festival

Tomb-sweeping festival

Ritual gives way to precautions as China mourns Covid-19 victims
Kyle Hui never got to see his mother one last time. He had planned to travel from Shanghai back to Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the coronavirus outbreak was first reported, for the Lunar New Year holiday, a time for family reunions. But his mother fell ill before he arrived. She had symptoms of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, but test kits were not readily available at the time. Hui’s older brother saw the last glimpse of their mother through a glass door as she was being wheeled into an isolation ward on January 11. A few days later, she was wheeled out wrapped in a yellow body bag that the family was forbidden to open because of infection concerns. Her burial
The high cost of honoring the dead
Grave-sweeping is an important part of the Ching Ming, or Qing Ming, festival – a 2,500-year-old tradition that sees millions flock to cemeteries to pay tribute to their dead. Family members and friends burn paper money, light joss sticks, and offer food and other trinkets to their departed loved ones. But these offerings don’t come cheap. And what’s worse, Hong Kong is running out of space for cemeteries, columbariums and cremation facilities. The dignity of death may be under threat.